Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The blogosphere is full of contests right now, so what is one more? It's the December Wish List contest. Again, I'm only running one contest this month, but this one is open to both commenters and followers, however those who make comments will be entered twice for each comment made on any post I write for this blog between now and Christmas. If you're a follower and make several comments as well, you'll get one chance for being a follower and two chances for each comment you make. In addition I will award a prize (a book of course) to the person I feel best expresses their feelings about a Christmas memory, the importance of a specific Christmas tradition, or a personal example of a gift given or received. During the month I will be sharing with you some of my Christmas memories and the Christmas traditions that have impacted my life. The contest will run until December 20th.

Christmas pageants were once a huge part of the elementary school experience. I started school (first grade, no kindergarten) in the small town of Moore, Idaho. Our school didn't have a gym, so we trudged through the snow each day to rehearse at the nearby LDS Stake Center. Mothers were expected to make our costumes out of crepe paper, wire, and in a few cases actual fabric. Now I can't even imagine sewing costumes out of yards and yards of crepe paper! My mother was good at it and she not only made my costume, but my big sister's too, and one for a neighbor girl. One year I was a snowflake, one year a poinsettia, and another a Christmas tree with all kinds of creative dangling decorations. My big sister was an angel one of those years and how I envied that golden halo she wore! By the end of the program my undies would be the same color as my crepe paper costume.

The family I grew up in consisted of Mom and Dad, five brothers, two sisters, and me. We didn't have much money and our gifts to each other weren't elaborate or expensive. One tradition we laugh about now is our brothers always gave us three girls each a box of cherry-covered chocolates for their Christmas gift to us. Most of us let that tradition go after we grew up, but recently while my younger sister was so ill, she talked about how she and the brother between us in age, kept up the tradition all of these years. They changed it a little. Vic gave Vada a box of the chocolates and she, in turn, gave him one every Christmas for all these years. I think Vic will feel an ache this year and each Christmas as long as he lives when there's no gift-wrapped chocolates under his tree and no one pretending to be surprised when he presents his gift to her.

Even if you don't win this contest, putting Christmas memories on paper, is a great way to add to your journal. Also if your memory or tradition becomes story length, you might consider submitting your entry to LDS Publisher That's a fun contest and the winning stories get published in a book. Some of you have written wonderful comments during previous contests, so let yourself go and share your memories and traditions. The contest starts right now.


Laurie LC Lewis said...

My mother was a Depression-era child, and with money extremely tight, and her widowed mother working in a cannery, Mom put her eight-year-old creativity to work making homemade Christmas decorations. Among those were tin foil chains.

Mom continued the tradition in her own home. We had similar, aluminum foil chains draped across our kitchen ceiling every Christmas I can remember. Our home was not always a happy, peaceful one, but at Christmas, it seemed magical.

Years passed, we children all grew up. Sadly, we didn't remain as close as we should have. One brother became estranged for nearly sixteen years. The rest of us gathered only on holidays once or twice a year at Mom's and Dad's house.

Fifteen years ago, we finally reconnected with our estranged brother. When we all got together we found it hard to bridge the squandered years, until someone mentioned Mom's old chains. Little did any of us know how deeply the magic of those chains had permeated our concept of a family Christmas. Unbeknownst to the others, we had each made a set.

At firstm, we were surprised by how deeply that simple tradition had been ingrained in us--a sweet and simple memory plucked from four difficult childhoods.

Traditions are important to a family. Once established, they can become a thread that connects us to one another, despite miles, or trials, or years.

Susan Law Corpany said...

A couple of years after my husband had passed away, I had moved to a new home with my little boy, who was three. That first year we were there, someone did The Twelve Days of Christmas for us. It made Christmas magical for my little boy, and many of the gifts were specifically for him.

Every night we would wait for the elves to come. One evening as we answered the doorbell and found yet another fun surprise, Scotty told me he had seen the tips of pointy elf shoes by the side of the house where the elves were hiding.

I will always be grateful for the "elves" that helped make that a magical Christmas for my little boy and kept me from sinking into the depression that can come during the holidays when you are recovering from a tragedy.

Tamera Westhoff said...

I remember carolling! We are a very musical family and we always went carolling every year. When we were younger we would each get to pick a family each and we went out at least weekly the whole month of December to carol all of my dad's hometeaching families, my mom's visiting teaching families and then some of our friends. Some of the members of the ward that lived far away had never had people carol them before, and they would cry and invite us in. We couldn't help but feel the true Spirit of Christmas every year, sharing songs with others! AS we got older, we added cookies. So, not only did we get to carol people, we would also give them cookies! The look of shock on their faces as we raced away! What fun we had! We were poor and didn't have much, but I will always remember the joy of singing Christmas songs together! I can't wait until my kids are old enough to start going out carolling too!

Haiku Amy said...

I remember one Christmas my brother and I were determined to catch Santa. We slipped upstairs and hid behind the couch late at night. I believe my Dad was in the kitchen working on something. Well, he did a sneak attack on us and scared us. We didn't catch Santa, but instead were sent back to bed.

A big tradition growing up was putting on Christmas numbers on Christmas Eve. It would consist of everyone contributing something, usually musical. Some years we sang songs, or played piano, or even a few Christmas brass duets. One year when we were young the four youngest kids decided to put on a Christmas play. I don't remember specifics, but my brother played Santa, one of my sisters was Mrs. Claus, another sister a reindeer and I was an elf. We were inspired with our own costumes. I remember my brother using Christmas stockings as boots, and of course a Santa hat, and a pillowcase filled with toys. The best is looking at all of us in our costumes in an old photo.

Elizabeth Morgan said...

We always get together for a big Family Christmas Party. There are lots of people and we have fun remembering the spirit of the season and celebrating it with others.